Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas in Italy, Spain and Greece


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In many European countries the festival of the Epiphany on January 6 offers yet another chance for festive celebrations - and certainly for gifts. Customers in these countries can do their shopping relaxed on Boxing Day and take advantage of much lower online and store prices.
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Spain 
January 6 is traditionally the day that Spanish children get their Christmas presents. Shoes are placed outside their bedrooms overnight, in the hope that the "Three Kings" will be generous with gifts of sweets and small toys. On Epiphany people also eat a sweet, donut shaped bread with candied fruit that contains a small toy or coin.
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Italy
Ending of the old year and beginning of the new year, il capodanno, is a great time to celebrate in Italy.  Women wear their red underwear to ring in the new year! They say it will bring you luck in the coming year (and maybe many bambini : ). Beautiful red dessous are popular gifts on this last day of the year.

January 6: Italian children, or at least the ones who have been good, are given gifts not by Santa but by a witch. La Befana flies down chimneys or through keyholes to leave presents after deciding who has been naughty and who has been nice. Children leave out stockings, hoping to wake up to discover sweets and toys.
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Greece
In Greece, Epiphany allows for a cleansing of the "goblins", little ghosts, that pop up between Christmas and January 6 to wreak havoc.  The only cure for this mayhem comes on the eve of Epiphany when the village priests bless the waters that people sprinkle throughout the house. This is usually enough to chase away the evil spirits for another year.  

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